Author’s Note, May 2016: I wrote this post before going to Gamestorm last year, but something caught it up accidentally in a pending state and frankly I’m not sure what happened. I haven’t really touched this blog much since then, but I just this morning found it chilling out in my draft queue, and figured I’d read it over and push it out. It’s worth noting that in the days that followed at Gamestorm 2015, we played this twice and jammed out even more new ways to improve the process – I’m most particularly fond of a new “Loot Bag” mechanic that I’ve been writing up after a year away from this particular design project. More posts will follow on this subject, but for now, here’s the old post that got locked, so that maybe folks will find it interesting. End Note
Last year at Gamestorm 2014, a few conversations on “roguelike” gaming experiences led me to come up with an on-the-fly method for character-grinding adventure gaming. With but a single simple Chessex d12 Dungeon Die, a handful of those custom Warhammer Fantasy Third Edition RPG dice, a Swords & Wizardry monster book, and a stack of random characters from Save vs Total Party Kill, we had a rip-roaring time plunging into unknown dungeons (and looting the bodies of fallen compatriots after every battle).
From this was born HAMMERCRAWL! – my nickname for this evolving method of using collated existing tools for immediate, “procedurally-generated” roguelike tabletop dungeon crawling. The idea is to have everything I need to run such a game on-hand in the size of a custom GM screen, or less. This year, I want to give HAMMERCRAWL! a second go at the coming Gamestorm 2015, and hopefully get things into a more well-oiled machine than the previous attempts. To assist with this, I’m keeping notes here on the various pieces and how they fit together.
First off, things that HAMMERCRAWL! is not:
- HAMMERCRAWL! is not core game mechanic: It uses old-school D&D/retroclone rules – pick one of your choice, there are plenty!
- HAMMERCRAWL! is not a system for generating story: If you want Story, you’ll have to add that part yourself.
- HAMMERCRAWL! is not a method for campaign gaming: The various tools here are collected for the primary purpose of one-shot gaming; long-term use of HAMMERCRAWL! might not be fun, unless you and your group are exceptionally masochistic.
Instead, HAMMERCRAWL! is a system for randomly generating the “bottom line” elements of a dungeon crawl: Characters, Dungeon Rooms, Traps, Monsters, and Treasure. And it’s certainly not for everyone, especially those who want a more stable, fleshed-out gaming experience that lasts more than a single pick-up or con-game session. Read More »